Tuesday, 1 December 2015

The Myanmar discovery circuit - Day 1 (evening) - Yangon, Dinner at the Karaweit Palace restaurant on the Kandawgyi Lake - The 12th of November 2015

It was too dark to thoroughly appreciate the Kandawgyi Lake we headed to so as to have dinner at the Karaweit palace on its eastern shore. Said to have been constructed in the early 1970s the structure replicates a pyigymun (a Royal barge) such as the Burma's Kings and Queens would traditionally have used on ceremonial occasions. Although it looks as a boat it is actually a building with a double bow depicting the mythological karaweik (a water bird from pre-history) with a multi-tiered pagoda on top.

As we walked along the "bridge" leading to the main boat entrance several ladies were cooking traditional entry pastries, which we all tasted and "fell in love with". All women were wearing "thanaka", the yellowish-white paste  said to have been traditionally used for at least 2,000 years. It is made from the ground bark of several trees and worn to protect fragile complexions from the dehydrating effects of strong sunlight.


The interior was sumptuous with some rather striking lacquerwork embellished with mosaics in glass, mother-of-pearl and marble. I must confess I paid a lot more attention to the dance and puppetry performances than the actual food.

The dancers were very subtle in the way they moved their hands or bent their waists. The whole dance movements were accompanied by facial expressions which undoubtedly enhanced the overall performance. I was particularly fascinated with the way they lifted the long dresses at the back with a slow move of the feet (I felt our newly wedded should learn some of those movements so as to look a lot more natural when moving along the church aisle). 


A few theatrical dance performances followed. The fact that none of us was told what they were about made it difficult in terms of fully understanding what was going on, though  it was clear they were all history or mythological figures related.



I was so mesmerised by the puppet performances including the one in which a person played the role of a puppet that I almost forgot to photograph them. I have always loved puppet performances and more so in Asian countries because there's no doubt they are masters of performing. I wish I could do one tenth of what the puppeteer managed to do and I am sure I would be a lot more successful in the story telling performing acts (than I already am) during the children Summer courses.

It was a very interesting day and I couldn't help then but look forward to the following days ....



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